Monday, April 30, 2012

Integrate Fun: Cursive Writing and a Cat's Cradle

I'm always on the lookout for ways to integrate fun into our learning. Today we made learning cursive writing fun and like a piece of woven artwork. Yes, we went loopy today. {I was afraid that I'd have to say that one day--ha.} Actually, we started the foundations for writing cursive letters in a fun way. Here's how.

Have you ever made a Cat's Cradle with yarn looped between your fingers? We did. We started watching this YouTube video {Here} for how to create many creations like the Cat's Cradle, Cat's Whiskers, and the Eiffel tower.

Then we tied together that long string of yarn and moved it around on our own. As we did, we talked about an important concept. The concept is that cursive writing is like that piece of yarn. It is connected--plus we had a little bit of movement and fun too.

This technique gets those little fingers warmed up and ready to get writing. This is a simple way to teach a very practical concept. When students write in cursive, they have to learn to keep their letters connected, just like they are a piece of string or yarn.

If you've got a multicolored piece of yarn, you can explain how each different color could be a different letter on the same string.

Save that piece of yarn. We'll use it again for another cursive writing technique coming up in a future post.

Robin @ Sweet Tea Classroom

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vincent van Gogh in the Classroom: Integrate Art and Integrate Fun

I cannot stress enough the importance of art in the classroom. Art gives students a great opportunity to be creative and it gives you a wonderful opportunity to integrate fun, writing, and history. First, I passed out this great outline of van Gogh's Starry Night that I found online through a Pinterest pin as a free printable from Practical Pages.

I passed out the handout with no background information. "Make this creative," I said. That was it. "This looks familiar," I heard. I was so excited to see the results. Look at this. {Um, maybe it had a little bit of a Clint Eastwood flair--that town is painted red.} I do love the colors in the sky--planets maybe?

Now, on to step 2. We studied Vincent van Gogh, and we looked at his worked. We looked at Starry Night. Then I had a new set of directions. "Recreate," I said. 

Now, you see a more van Gogh-like Starry Night, but I still love the 2nd  grade colors above. We just used crayons and then went over the pictures with a water color wash. Just get water and add a bit of water color paint (the cheap kind works) and brush quickly over the crayons.

Now, I'm big on integration. We've had a history lesson, an art lesson, even learned a new art technique. It's time for more integration fun. We added a bit of writing. It's a perfect fit to get students to work with descriptive writing. Get your kiddos to draw and recreate their own Starry Night on the top of the page. Then they write a description of the word below it. It's a great way to add directional words too. 

Robin @ Sweet Tea Classroom

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Get Moving and Learning: Kid's Co-op Linky for April 27

Hello, All,  Thanks joining me and welcome to the Kid's Co-op Link up--the place for you to link up your kid-related posts and check out tons of fun ideas too. Each week I'll be featuring my favorite ideas here too. I'm a teacher, so I'm always on the lookout for some sweet teaching goodies that would work in the classroom. I'm leaning towards insects for next week!

This week, I'm blogging on movement in the classroom. Really, those standardized tests are the worst for our active kids. It's tough being confined to a seat with only two sharpened pencils. In my course titled, The Creative Classroom {My Courses}, I share many ways to get children moving while meeting your goals.

One literacy technique that I just love is dramatic reading. It's really simple. As you read a picture book to your students, invite them to stand up and act out what you're reading. This is so fun when you read picture books with a science connection. Your students get to get up and move and move like a butterfly or swim like a fish. And.... even high school students can take a moment to act out what they're reading. It's a way to improve comprehension. Check out the Get Moving Linky Party to find more ideas for getting our kiddos moving.

This week, I'm featuring three bloggers who linked up to the Kid's Co-op last week. I choose these three because each one illustrated that learning doesn't just take place while students are sitting behind a desk. Truly, the world CAN be our classroom.

Be sure to visit these great blogs.

Beautiful Somehow shares how little children can do big things. They learn lots just hanging up items on a clothesline at their level.

Then in, Preschool Projects we see that movement is fun, and a little bit of ribbons can lift the mood. Check out this blogger's crafty directions too.

Finally, in Taming the Goblin, we learn that W is for Woodland Walk. I couldn't agree more. All teachers should take their children outside. You may just be surprised how many woodland animals you can find just outside your classroom doors. {Check out my Woodland Writing Craftivity}

Just add your link below and if you link up, add this Kid's Co-op badge to your site to show your support. I'll be looking for more classroom inspiration next week and I hope to feature you. Thanks!


Enjoy and thanks for joining the "school" at Sweet Tea Classroom!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ocean Crab Writing Craftivity for K-3

I'm excited about my latest teacher-created product just in time for summer and for your ocean units. I've created this cute crab page topper. This packet comes with three different writing prompts in two different formats. One set lets you print the writing prompt with the crab on it. The other set is made so that you can add the crab page topper to the top of it for some great writing prompt craftivities. You can find this product {HERE}.

For a limited time, I am selling these cuties for just $1.00. Afterwards, they will be $1.50 which is a deal for 15 pages of writing goodies.

Robin @ Sweet Tea Classroom

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Paws to Read Reading Program: The Best Reading Program

We have the best little library in the world and we've been a part of one of the best reading programs ever. This reading program is called Paws to Read and it's great on two levels--no even more than that. 

The children meet at the library and get to read to dogs!  

This is one of the best rescue dogs stories. These dogs were abandoned dogs who were rescued dogs. It gets better. These dogs get sent to jail!!! I know... can you imagine...keep reading because it's not what you think. What would a dog do in jail? While the dogs are in jail, certain prisoners get to help train and rehabilitate the dogs. 

Once the dogs graduate from the program, they're trained and many families want them. From everyone who has a dog, I've heard that they are the best dogs they have ever had. 

The dogs in the reading program at the library were also trained to sit and listen to books. Now, this beats every summer reading program around!  I heard that a while back on Christmas eve, the prisoners even read The Night Before Christmas to the dogs as part of their training. Did I mention how good this program is for the prisoners? 

We'll if you walk in the best little library in the world, you'll see children reading to dogs and dogs listening with their ears alert. It's so great. 

Teaching is great, and I hope you enjoyed this Sweet Tea moment as much as I did. I've got another Sweet Tea moment planned for you. Check back soon to learn about a reading program freebie!

Robin @ Sweet Tea Classroom

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kid's Co-Op Linky Party for the week of April 20th

Hello and welcome to the Kid's Co-op Link up--the place for you to link up your kid-related posts and check out tons of fun ideas too. Each week I'll be featuring my favorite ideas here too. I'm a teacher, so I'm always on the lookout for some sweet teaching goodies that would work in the classroom.

Just add your link below and if you link up, add this Kid's Co-op badge to your site to show your support. Thanks!


Enjoy and thanks for joining the "school" at Sweet Tea Classroom!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Earth Day Classroom Pictures

Yeah, we're really having fun with Earth Day Classroom Activities this year. Look at our Earth Day Cupcakes all dressed up with their own clouds that the kiddos made. Then we got a chance to create our Earth Day Glyph Craftivity -- that's an Earth Day Craft and an activity-- and practice good Earth Day Practices--reduce, reuse, recycle. (Umm...I guess you can tell that we ate some left over Easter candy too.) 

Teaching in the classroom and at home is SWEET. Enjoy it. 
Kid Made Earth Day Cupcakes {See my Earth Day cupcake post}

Earth Day Glyph Craftivity {See Glyph Post Here}
Enjoy this cupcake for the teacher Earth Day craft fun!
Robin @ Sweet Tea Classroom

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{Free} Earth Day Classroom Freebie

If you're celebrating Earth Day in the classroom or home, I've got an Earth Day activity freebie just for you! Here's my Earth Day Word Challenge Freebie. Your kiddos will create as many words as they can using Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle using the letter tiles and forms in this free packet. Please be sure to use this Earth Day Goody again next year.

If you are interested in a Real Earth Day craft, check out my glyph that uses items that students will recycle including magazines, newspapers, and food packages. It includes a flippy book that teaches about reducing, recycling, and reusing, and it has the glyph questions on it.
Please visit my store {HERE} to check it out.

Robin @ Sweet Tea Classroom

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Celebrating Earth Day in the Classroom {Earth Day Cupcakes}

For those of you who approve of cupcakes in the classroom, here's a great way to celebrate Earth Day and  make Earth Day cupcakes with the kiddos and share them in the classroom.

Start with your cake batter. We used cake mix. Separate it into two containers. Since we're making an Earth, put 70 percent of the batter (ocean) in one container and 30 percent (land) in the other (or about that amount). 
Add as many drops of blue food coloring as you'd like to. I'm not big on it, so we used just enough to get a blue ocean color.

Stir it up and take time to look at the artwork you're creating. Add your green food coloring to the green container and stir.

Spoon your first continents with a tablespoon into the bottom of the cupcake holder. I put some oil on the spoon to make this easier.

Then pour the blue batter on top. Top it off with another spoonful of green. make them full so they'll be Earth shaped.

We're almost there. My kiddo did this too~

They're the best looking right before they are all the way baked. They turn a bit when they cook.
Any there you have it.  Easy, kid friendly Earth day cupcakes for the classroom. We even added a dab of whipped frosting for the clouds!

Happy Earth Day, and please come by my Teacher's Pay Teachers store to check out my Earth Day Freebie and my Earth Day Glyph and Flip Book.

Please visit my store {HERE} to check it out.


R is for Real Earth Day Recycled Craft

I wrestled with the idea of creating a craft for students to do on Earth Day. How can you teach about recycling, reducing, and reusing while you pull the plastic wrapper off a pack of new construction paper? How can you teach your students to reduce while you're passing out a five page handout? That's when my Earth Day Glyph was born. This is a REAL Earth Day Craft for kids.

A glyph is a visual way to represent data. The students answer questions, and based on those questions, their Earth is created by reusing items like newspapers, manila folders, magazines, and even toilet paper rolls. I was very happy with the results. I even created an Earth Day Flip Book that reduces the number of pages you have to print. This book teaches about reducing, recycling, and reusing, and it has the glyph questions on it.
Please visit my store {HERE} to check it out.

Student Example of the Earth Day Glyph with Earth Day Word Challenge Freebie

Student Earth Day Glyph
Robin @ Sweet Tea Classroom

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sensory Water Table {Wagon} Fun

Who needs to buy an expensive water table for the little ones when you may already have what you need. I have to thank my oldest kiddo for his creative idea. We added our plastic Easter eggs to a wagon and filled it halfway full of water. It made for a great day outside.

It was such a hit, the neighbors joined us too. The eggs worked well because kids can open and close them. Kids can also use them to scoop up water. The best part was that the little holes in the bottom of the eggs worked well to create little streams of falling water when we lifted up the plastic eggs.

Please come back again for some more sweet learning fun and follow me at Sweet Tea Classroom.

Skunks in the Classroom {Skunk Writing Prompts and Craftivity}

With their long swishy tails with a white stripe down their back, it's hard not to recognize the skunk. It's impossible to miss their smell too! But, you have to admit that they are downright cute. They're fun to write about too. Here are some skunk writing prompts that aren't stinky.

Skunk Writing Prompts
S is for Skunk (students list words that start with S)
If I were a skunk . . .
If a skunk didn't have a stripe . . .
If a skunk walked into our classroom . . .
If a skunk met a porcupine . . .
What rhymes with skunk?
If I had a stripe down my back . . .
If you had a pet skunk . . .
If I were nocturnal like a skunk . . .

Skunk Page Topper and Craftivity
I like to throw in a craftivity with my writing prompts. See how cute this skunk writing prompt craftivty is. My teacher created skunk crafitivty is available {HERE}.

Here are a few skunk teaching resources to use. Of course, you can use the sk or unk sounds for phonics. Here's more:

Skunk Teaching Resources and Skunk Resources (that aren't stinky)
Skunk Basics
Enchanted Learning Skunks
Cleveland Museum Skunk Data

Thanks and please follow Sweet Tea Classroom for more Sweet Tea teaching tips.

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